Pinjai Pazhutheno Andalai Pole
Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 11
Was I enlightened at a young age like Andal?
The pining Thirukolur Pen Pillai continued in a dismal tone, “Dear Swami, Andal was a young child like me when she wrote so many beautiful poems! Am I enlightened at a young age the way Andal was?”. Upon hearing his dear Sister’s name, Godhagrajar, Ramanujar’s face lit up! “What do you mean my child, please go on!” he asked enthusiastically. Are you too excited to hear this story my little friends? Do you all know about Andal, the one who enraptured the heart of Sri Ranganatha Himself?!
Srivilliputhur is one of the great 108 temples visited by and praised by the Azhwars! The Perumal in this temple is named “Vadabadrasaayi”. In Srivilliputhur, lived a very devoted Brahmin, one who held the Lord and His consort close to his heart. His name was Vishnu Chithar. Vishnu Chithar’s primary duty was to make beautiful garlands for Vadabadrasaayi. He had a lovely garden filled with colourful flowers in abundance. He would pick these flowers every morning and make them into garlands. He always enjoyed the beauty of Vadabadrasaayi and relished His company by singing several poems in praise of the Lord.
The consort of Vadabadrasaayi, Bhoomadevi was eager to experience the devotion of Vishnu Chithar by being around and joining him in his duty all the time. Hence, she took the form of a small baby girl and appeared near the Thulasi plant in Vishnu Chitar’s garden! One day when he was picking flowers from his garden, he was astounded to find a crying baby girl next to his Thulasi plant. He took the beautiful child into his home happily and named her “Kodhai”.
Kodhai was well taken care of by Vishnu Chithar and his wife. She grew up watching her father make the beautiful garlands and sing poems in praise of the Lord. She was very eager and happy to listen to the story of Lord Krishna and would always request her father to narrate more stories of Kannan. Vishnu Chithar too was delighted to share the stories of Kannan – of the times He stole butter from the Gopikas, His various mischievous acts, His mighty Leelas saving the people of Brindhavan countless times, His brave encounters with the evil envoys sent by the tyrant Kamsa! Kodhai’s heart was filled with love for Krishna.
As Kodhai’s heart grew fonder, she constantly imagined herself playing with and being in the company of Krishna. One day while her father was getting ready to leave to the temple, Kodhai out of curiosity wore the garland on herself. When she looked at the mirror – what a surprise! In her reflection she saw Krishna wearing the garland instead of herself! She would tenderly admire the image of Krishna and then return the garland to the tray Vishnu Chithar had prepared to bring to Vadabadrasaayi. This was going on unnoticed by anyone for many months.
One fine day, Vishnu Chithar caught Kodhai in action! He became very upset as it is not a practice to adorn the Lord with a garland we had already worn. He reprimanded Kodhai and then made a new garland for Vadabadrasaayi. When Vishnu Chithar decorated the Lord with the new garland, it fell down from His neck to the floor. Try as he might, Vishnu Chithar could not make the garland remain on the Lord. This broke his heart and he thought that the Lord had become angry with Kodhai and him for offering the used garland all these days.
That night, Krishna appeared in Vishnu Chithar’s dream, “Dear Vishnu Chithar! I do not want a new garland! I only want the garland adorned by my favourite Kodhai. From now please only offer me a garland that is worn by Kodhai!”. It was only then that Vishnu Chithar understood the beautiful and intimate bond between Kodhai and Kannan. Kodhai’s love for her Lord grew by the day and when she was of marriageable age, she only wanted to marry Krishna. She sought the blessings of her father who advised her to take on the Karthyaayeni Vrat that the Aayarpaadi girls took on to achieve the hand and heart of Krishna.
During the month of Margazhi, Kodhai took on the Vrat inviting the other girls of Srivilliputhur to join her mission. Kodhai composed and sang the beautiful 30 verses of the Thiruppavai during her vrat in praise of her Krishna. She also composed Nachiyar Thirumozhi where she described her dreams of getting married with her Lord. The Lord whose heart Kodhai had won appeared in Vishnu Chithar’s dreams one night. He said, “Dear devotee, your child is none other than Bhoomadevi, my consort. She wanted to be with you to enjoy your heartfelt devotion towards me. It is time for her to return to me, where she always belonged. Please bring her to Srirangam where she will finally join me!”.
Vishnu Chithar’s joy knew no bounds. When the day arrived, Kodhai was dressed like a beautiful bride and taken in a palanquin to Srirangam. At the main alter of Sri Ranganathar, the Lord accepted His bride and took her with Him.
“So tell me Swami, do I have the Bhakthi or spiritual enlightenment at a young age like Andal”, said the little girl of Thirukolur. Ramanuja snapped back from his mind travels to Srirangam and wiped his tears of joy at the thought of his Sister’s marriage with Sriranganatha. “Tell me more my child”, he pleaded the little girl.